I got this great question from Dutch artist Yentl. Follow her HERE!
For me, I started out as an artist writing country music, which I still love.
However, as I grow, my sound grows.
I know you can’t be ‘vague’ in what you’re communicating as a ‘personal brand’/artist.
But you also should be able to have to the freedom and creativity to create whatever you want/feels good.
So, how important is it to have a clear line in your new body of work?
Is there still a (branding) strategy you should stick to when you’re exploring new music?
I think the bigger question in this is, how can I grow as a creator and as a business without confusing my fanbase?
First off, congrats for being so aware of your development. That's half the battle. My philosophy in life is to always grow and learn, and as long as you do that, you are bound to change. Your sound will change, your voice will change, your stories will change and this is a GREAT thing!
Here are a few pointers to help you in your journey of development and branding.
1. Having a clear line.
The clear line in your work is YOU. You are the one creating your melodies, your lyrics. There is no one like you, so even if you change direction, change genres, as long as you don't try to mimic someone else, it will always sound like you. Where it gets tricky for a lot of people is that as they are growing, they start listening to one specific artist/genre and they accidentally take over that sound. Be aware of that, make sure that the things that you make and release have enough of you in them. Be inspired by others but don't let that take away what is uniquely you. Here are a few tips on how to make your music look like you.
You can be an artist, a songwriter, a producer all at the same time. You can sell your songs to others while still making your own art. There are no limitations to the things you can be. If you are clear with the new definition of you and communicate that to your audience, your audience will be ok with that. But, make sure that you know exactly what that is first, and embrace it. And again, this can change along the way again, so make sure you keep checking in with yourself.
3. Manage expectations.
I'm sure you encounter the odd fan that only wants you to write ballads, or a disappointed friend or family member who wishes you could just "write more songs like that one song I love so much". Just remember, those are their expectations and not yours. Social media is actually a great way to manage other people's expectations of you. Be clear about what you are doing and what you are aiming for and people will know what they can expect of you.
4. Brand wisely
When it comes to branding I want to challenge you to think about your brand as the entirety of you. You are more than your music. Make a list of 5 things that are uniquely you and only 3 of those things can be music related. For instance you can say, I am going to post about being an artist, being a songwriter and my performances. And...I also love coffee and my hometown. Start posting about those 5 things equally.
YOU are the brand, everything that is important about you, is something you can share. It helps you get more diversity in your followers, but it also sets up an expectation that you are more than what you do. Also, it's much easier as your are changing and growing, to simply take one of the subjects out and replace it with something new without having to change your entire brand. This is how you remain consistent while still changing!
Once you start doing this, show that diversity and growth actually IS a part of your brand, the sky its the limit, so keep that change coming!